Crystallization and Texturing of SrxBa1–xNb2O6 Thin Films Prepared by Aqueous Solution Deposition─An In Situ X-ray Diffraction Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Aqueous chemical solution deposition (CSD) is an environmentally friendly and highly flexible fabrication route to prepare oxide thin films. Here, we present an aqueous CSD process for ferroelectric SrxBa1–xNb2O6 (SBN) thin films on SrTiO3 (STO) single-crystal substrates. In situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction was employed to study the crystallization of the films during thermal processing with heating rates in the range 0.04–20 °C/s. Three different crystal orientations of SBN were observed based on the heating rate and the orientation of the STO substrates. SBN(001) and SBN(310) orientations were observed on STO(100), while only the SBN(311) orientation was observed on STO(110). The SBN(001) orientation was favored by an ultraslow heating rate of 0.04 °C/s, suggesting that this is the thermodynamic stable orientation. The SBN(310) orientation was kinetically favored at moderate heating rates and also promoted by increasing the Sr content in the film. A high heating rate of 20 °C/s rendered polycrystalline SBN films. It was revealed that nucleation and growth occurred via a classical Volmer–Weber (VW) growth mode and that the SBN grains preferably grow along the c-axis. The present findings demonstrate that control of nucleation and growth is a prerequisite to deposit films with different orientations and textures, which is detrimental for the film properties.